Trying to decide which flowers to plant next? Perennial flowers might be your most viable option.
These popular florals are a garden must-have, but with so many types to choose from it can be hard to make a decision. We’ve compiled a list of the best perennial flowers and classified each based on vital success factors and growing tips specific to your needs. Whether you have a green thumb or more of a black one, you won’t regret planting from this selection and will have a beautiful garden to prove it.
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Before browsing our complete guide and top-picks, find out more about the easy-to-care-for perennial flowers below.
What are Perennial Flowers?
Perennials flowers are plants that live for more than two years and return year after year blooming on their own. This is due to the flowers’ far-reaching roots which allow for better access to nutrients meaning a longer lifespan and less upkeep for you!
As if their easy-to-grow nature didn’t just bump them up to the top of your must-have list, these flowers also tend to be low maintenance, have the ability to withstand harsh climates and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. They are also a great option if you’re looking to add vertical interest to your garden since they are known for building on their growth over time.
What Is The Difference Between Annuals and Perennials?
Plants and flowers are commonly categorized as either annual or perennial and knowing the difference between these common terms will help you make a more educated selection for your garden.
Annual plants are those that live for only one growing season before producing seeds and dying, while perennials regrow every spring and live for more than two years. The difference is genetic, and yet, a clever “plant gene therapy” technique can be used to change an annual into a perennial. In general, annual plants will require more upkeep from you. Not to mention, at the end of their growing seasons you’ll have to pull them from your garden and start anew.
Perennials are just what you should consider keeping your garden sustainably beautiful for years to come. Find the best perennial flowers for your needs by scrolling through our handy guide below.
What Are The Best Perennial Flowers?
Give the sunny spots in your garden the splash of color they deserve. Scroll through our list of the best perennial flowers! With gardening information and helpful facts, you’ll have the right flower picked out in no time at all.
1. Blanket Flower
The blanket flower is best known for its long seasonal bloom and daisy-like flowers that can be found in rich shades of orange, wine red and yellow. Petals have a tubular shape and are frilled at the edges.
2. Pineapple Sage
Known for its attractive pineapple scent, this seasonal treat features red tubular flowers and leafy stems that thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil.
3. Shasta Daisy
Blooming in late spring to fall, the shasta daisy flowers look similar to the traditional daisy, but offer two to three-foot lush evergreen foliage that lasts year-round. The shasta daisy has all-white petals surrounding a yellow center and thrives in the full sun (zones 5-8). Since Shasta daisies grow quickly, you can easily trim them and put them in a vase to enjoy at home!
4. False Indigo
Also known as Baptista, the false indigo flower blooms late spring to early summer and prefers full sun (zones 5-9). These flowers are disease and pest free, making them durable plants that last throughout the season. After a few years, this purple-colored plant can grow up to four feet and look similar to a shrub.
5. May Night Sage
This showy flower grows in tall spikes of indigo flowers with lush green foliage. The flower also has outstanding cold hardiness and is the perfect fit if you live in cooler climates.
This bloom is prized for its long bloom period where you can find bright yellow petals with a dark brown center. Tickseed is known as one of the easiest-to-grow perennials and stands anywhere between 1-2 feet tall.
Similar to the Texas Bluebonnet, lupines are a wild plant complete with yellow, pink, white, red or purple blooms that look like pea flowers. After blooming in the spring or summer, these bright colors attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds! Lupines prefer full or partial sun (zones 4-7) and have stems that can grow up to five feet tall. Due to their tall and strong nature, lupines serve as great natural fencing for a yard.
8. Butterfly Bush
Similar to its name, the butterfly bush attracts butterflies throughout its blooming period during the summer and fall months. These flowers come in white, dark purple and lavender-pink, making it the perfect color addition to your garden! Make sure to plant it in a bright area; this flower prefers full sun (zone 5-10).
9. Black-eyed Susan
A few black-eyed Susans will add a vast amount of color to any garden. They provide bright yellow and orange blossoms and also make for great cut flowers.
This flower is commonly mistaken for a daisy because of its bright bloom in a variety of colors including pink, purple, red and white. Coneflowers are relatively drought-tolerant, good for bouquets and also invite songbirds where they are planted.
These elegant perennial flowers come in clusters blue, pink, white and lavender blossoms. Place them in partial sun (zone 3-9) to ensure their full life span of 50 years! Hydrangeas also do best when planted at the end of spring or at the start of fall.
Goldenrod, also known as Solidago, grows very quickly during the summer and fall seasons. Since it grows so rapidly, it does require more maintenance but adds the perfect wildflower look to your garden space. These green grasses with fluffy golden petals prefer full to partial sun (zones 2-8).
The daylily is oftentimes referred to as “the perfect perennial” because of its vibrant colors and ability to thrive in both frost-like climates as well as the heat. The beautiful flowers are short-lived with a lifespan of only one day, although a mature daylily can produce over 200-400 blooms per month. With a shorter blooming season, this would be a nice surprise blossom in any garden.
Peonies offer a gorgeous bloom in springtime with colors including pink, red, white and yellow. Peonies are a popular cut flower, make for gorgeous bouquets and have a wonderful fragrance. Fun fact: Some peonies have been known to live over 100 years old.
15. Coral Bells
If you’re looking to attract hummingbirds to your garden, plant coral bell flowers! These summertime blooms, also known as heuchera, are most commonly a burgundy color and feature bell-shaped clusters. These perennial flowers are great planted in full sun or partial shade (zone 4-8).
16. Balloon Flower
Balloon flowers feature rounded buds when they’re first planted. In mid-summer, this perennial blooms into star-shaped flowers in pink or deep blue. These plants grow in either clusters or solo and feature short, green-blue leaves. Be sure to plant these flowers in spring and in full sun (zone 3-8).
17. Russian sage
Tall and airy, Russian sage grows in spike-like clusters that feature a lavender-blue color and offer more fragrant foliage. This heat-loving and drought-resistant plant is superb for any garden.
18. Sea Holly
Noted for its silvery-blue bracts, the sea holly features thistle-like blooms that are great for flower bouquets. It is sure to add some interest to any garden, backyard or flower bouquet.
Alliums are purple, sphere-shaped flowers with skinny stems that grow up to 30 inches tall. They can be planted in almost any soil and rodent, pest and deer free, making them very durable. Plus, their fun shape makes a great addition to bouquets! You can expect to see these blooming during the summer and fall in areas with full sun.
This flower is commonly known by a few names including stonecrop, orpine or live-forever. It typically grows upright with branched stems featuring small star-like flowers in hues of pink to reddish-purple.
The Yarrow wildflower is loved for providing a vast amount of blooms featuring tightly-packed clusters of small flowers. They blossom in the summertime and feature a variety of colors including mustard yellow, pink and red.
Although you may just consider thyme to be just an herb, it does feature tiny purple blooms during its flowering stage — usually in early spring and late summer months. This perennial offers a lot of different varieties but all of them are very drought tolerant and sturdy plants that thrive in full sun.
Hostas are the perfect perennial flower if you’re looking for a more tropical look in your garden! These are low maintenance and prefer partial shade (zone 3-9). Once a hosta blooms in the summer and fall seasons, you’ll see purple or white flowers amongst the leafy foliage. If properly taken care of, the hostas plant can live for decades!
This recognizable bloom is a sure sign that spring is here. Daffodils have attractive flowers with six outer petals and a trumpet or cup-shaped center. They thrive in full sun and grow anywhere between 1-1.5 feet tall.
You won’t be able to forget this flower with blossoms that feature five baby blue petals with yellow centers. Forget-me-nots can also be found in pink and white colors, although baby blue is the most favored.
Salvia, also known as sage, is a perennial that performs best in full sun and loves the heat. This flower is great if you want an intense show of color from your garden, such as bright purple, red and blue. Salvia is also deer-resistant and attracts butterflies!
Sedum is a perennial flower with succulent leaves and clusters of star-shaped flowers in pink, rose, purple and green. Since they’re so easy to care for and sturdy, they’re also known as stonecrop. The best time to plant sedum is in the spring and in full sun.
The lavender flowers of this drought-tolerant perennial are found in violet and white hues. Blooms grow in a spike-like fashion with abundant foliage that makes for attractive hedges.
29. False Goat’s Beard
Astilbe are shade-loving florals that feature feathery, plume-like flowers in a handful of colors including pink, red and white. The blossoms rise above the flower’s fern-like foliage and will surely make a statement in your garden.
Also known as penstemon, the beardtongue is a spring and summer perennial flower that features spikes of tubular flowers and lance-shaped foliage. This flower comes in red, purple, white and sometimes yellow and does well in full sun (zone 3-8).
Dead-nettles, or lamium, have their peak growing season in late spring with flowers ranging from pink to purple. As members of the mint family, these perennials have toothy-edged leaves, square stems and grow low to the ground. They have two-toned leaves that are either frosted or marked with splashes. Be sure to plant these in areas with partial shade.
32. Bleeding Heart
Once you get a look at this, you’ll understand its common name. The heart-shaped flowers that bloom in hues of pink or white will bring welcomed attention to any garden. Bleeding hearts thrive in the shade and are also commonly used for bouquets.
Bugleweed prefers the shade and are known for their shiny, dark green leaves and full foliage. Blue-violet flowers can appear anytime from mid to late spring and rise above the foliage when in bloom. This plant is known for “carpeting” the ground, so be sure to maintain it because it can take over quickly.
34. Roman Chamomile
Don’t get these confused with the annual German chamomile! The Roman chamomile is a full-sun loving perennial flower that is low-growing (only reaching up to one foot in height) and can be made into tea with its dried flowers. Oftentimes, this white flower is used as groundcover and between pavers and stone.
The cranesbill flower is known as a tough plant due to its ability to withstand heat and drought conditions. The flower’s small petals blossom in spring and feature a variety of colors including pink and white among its deep green leaves. Also, makes for great groundcover.
36. Sea Thrift
Also known as Armeria maritima, sea thrift grows in partial sun (zone 4-8) and features beautiful pink, violet, white or red petals. The round flowers sit on top of a long stem and bloom from late spring to early summer.
37. Spiked Speedwell
Commonly known as the spiked speedwell, this plant produces a summer bloom of small star-shaped flowers with tall upright stems. They grow in shades of violet-blue, pink and white and also feature medium green foliage.
38. Garden Phlox
The garden phlox blooms between July and September. The flower features five flat-like petals that can be found in a handful of colors including white, lavender, pink rose, red and bicolor.
39. Bee Balm
Bee balm gets its name for its ability to attract bees and hummingbirds — a great addition for a pollinator garden! It’s unique purple, red and pink blooms will add a splash of color to your flower collection. This perennial flower should be planted in the spring or fall and thrives in full sunshine.
If you’re looking to plant a perennial flower in the winter, look no further! Hellebores bloom in late winter to early spring, sometimes even when snow is still on the ground. They only need a few hours in the sunlight and often do well in shade. These flowers are considered poisonous plants, so be sure to keep them away from pets and children.
Commonly known as asters, the Latin word for “star,” this flower blooms between late spring and early fall. Its blossoms offer a handful of colors, including white, blue, indigo, violet, red and pink. Pinching in the early summer will increase the yield of flower buds you’ll get and be sure to plant them in a shady area of your garden.
42. Toad Lily
This hardy plant offers flowers that are often mistaken as orchids spotted with hues of blue or purple. The toad lily prefers light shade and its late bloom makes this flower the perfect addition for a fall garden.
43. Lamb’s Ear
With its velvety green leaves, lamb’s ear is sure to please in any garden setting. This perennial flower grows in the full sun (zone 4-8) and features purple or pink flowers on long spikes. It’s also very easy to care for as it can grow in almost anywhere.
This plant grows upright and features bluish-green leaves that are arranged in a spiral along the stems. Atop the stems grow small bushels of yellow or green flowers. These perennials thrive in a Mediterranean-type climate.
Chrysanthemums, also known as “Mums,” bloom in a variety of colors including, blue, green, orange, pink, red and white. This late-season flower delivers color that will add live to a garden or vase.
Bellflowers get their common name from the upright bell-shaped flowers they produce among their medium foliage. It comes in a handful of varieties assuring you’ll find the right fit for your gardens needs.
After browsing through our complete guide, reference the graphic below to easily save, share and utilize for all of your needs.
Best Perennial Plant Combinations
If you’re wondering what perennials look good together, we’ve put together a few combinations to try out. Here are four flower combinations that pair well with perennials and will make your garden or floral bouquet pop:
Phlox & lilies: Brighten up your garden with phlox and lilies. When combined, these perennial flowers can add a lot of color and a sweet fragrance to your backyard.
Salvia & roses: Whether you’re looking to add some structure to your garden or want to spice up a floral bouquet, pairing roses and salvia perennials will add the perfect unique touch. Consider choosing to create a colorful contrast next to the blue salvia flowers.
Bee balm & salvia: If you’re looking to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, be sure to pair bee balm and salvia. These nectar-rich flowers are a great combination in terms of color as well — the pink hue of the bee balm looks striking against the blue salvia flowers.
Allium & lupine: To add a layered look to your garden, plant tall, vertical-growing flowers, such as allium and lupine. With their height, these perennial flowers act as a colorful focal point to draw the eye and give the garden visual balance.
Now that you’re convinced your garden needs a few perennials, don’t forget about the option of gifting them too. There’s nothing quite like a gift that keeps on giving and a perennial will remind any recipient of your thoughtfulness for years to come.